We’ve all been on one – or maybe more – at some point in our life. Sitting either alone, or with someone else that is going through something similar. It sometimes seems to be a long ride as you patiently wait for your stop to get off. But it’s while on the bus that the heart should be changing. Its the best education about life. It’s where the relationship you have with Jesus begins to develop in ways you never thought possible. Jesus is with you while your off the bus, for sure, but Jesus is also on the bus with you; holding your hand and wiping your tears. The struggle bus can be the time you can make the decision to lean on Him, let Him take the wheel, and provide the safest and shortest route. (Luke 8:22-25)
But someone else is on the bus, as well. It’s his favorite hang out. Excitedly greeting everyone that enters, grinning and judging each face, every attitude and behavior. He hops from seat to seat, telling everyone how pathetic they are, causing insecurity, terror, and doubt that the bus will never stop. He doesn’t hand out tissues. He encourages tears, blames, and laughs. His name is Satan. He’s loud, obnoxious, proud, ugly, cusses, and knows the exact words to make you feel worse about your situation. He desires and demands attention. He’s the complete opposite of encouraging and anything good. He’s like the annoying kid that pokes you on one shoulder, turning around only to see an innocent person, instead. He throws trash and calls you names. He makes you move seats claiming you are sitting in his. He’s the bully. And he’s a good one. (John 10:10)
Growing up 13 miles from school, I had to ride the bus until I got my first car. I hated it. There were times I begged my mom to drop me off at school before she went to work, even though I had to wait an hour before school started. It was worth the early chilly mornings. I even missed the bus a few times purposely, just so I wouldn’t have to deal with the drama “in the back”. Mean, foul-mouthed, loud, and ridiculous behavior. I remember it so well. The struggle was real and how I didn’t end up acting like them is beyond me. But I do know Jesus was with me. And I do know that I was/am just as sinful as they were. I was no better.
We’ve all been a bully. We’ve all been negative, hateful, and sometimes obnoxious. We’ve all been surrounded by bad behavior, and contributed in some way; gossip, blame, pride. So what makes you different? Nothing. We all sin, we all deserve death, and we all have hearts that can be hateful and full of pride.
Yet, there is also something else we all have, and that is free-will. We can choose sin, or we can choose God’s will. And God’s will is not sinful. We won’t always make the right choice because of our flesh and our our minds are not God’s. And that is where undeserving grace and mercy fit in.
I encourage you today, if you find yourself on the struggle bus, let Jesus take the wheel. He knows the road to our Father, and is the bridge that passes over death. (John 14:6) Choose to look out the window up towards heaven on the way. It may be a dirty and dusty window, but heaven is there. (Colossians 3:2)
Be patient and confident. Pray for others on the bus with you, for wisdom and discernment, while the madness is going on around you. Choose to see the hope and blessings while you’re seated. Let Jesus’ gentle, kind, and perfect words fill you up when the world around you is loud, mean, hateful, demanding and discouraging.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.